Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in. (summary from Goodreads)

The stunning conclusion to Maggie Stievfater's bestselling Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Forever is a breathtaking read. Like a slow burn, the story meanders through the relationships we've come to know and love before culminating in an ending that will leave your heart pounding.

After the shocking twist of Linger, Grace has spent the winter as a wolf and now fights the cold to remain human. Sam continues to fight the demons of his past in order to find his place and have a future with Grace. Isabel desperately tries to avoid any fight in order to keep herself whole. Cole rushes head first into a fight for the cure. When Tom Culpeper gets approval to aerial hunt the wolves, the fight to survive becomes more urgent and each of them must finally face the battle head on, whether they're ready or not. If there's any future to be had, they must decide who it is they think they are, and who it is they want to be.

Graceful has always been the word I use to describe Stiefvater's writing and Forever is no exception. Her words are poetic and lyrical, never rushing. Instead the story builds, each word sinking hooks into you until you just can't put the book down. Reading Forever, I felt like I needed to wrap myself up in a cozy blanket and savour it - take my time with it. What I enjoy most about her writing, and especially about the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, is how drama isn't the focus of the story, but the characters. Sure, the drama's there! Only it isn't about getting to that, but instead about how the characters are dealing with it and getting on, either because of it or despite of it. That's not to say I wasn't desperate at times to find out what happens though! As much as Stiefvater owns the slow build, she also knows just how to have it all explode in your face...and boy, does Forever have it's BAM! moment. I think I almost bit through my lip trying to stem the flow of "No. Nope. Not happening." that wanted to shriek from me. I kept reminding myself to just breathe and keep reading, that Maggie would never do this to me...would she? I'm always amazed by how fast Stievfater can take me from slow and sighing to action-packed and heart-pounding...and loving it!

Over the course of this series I've become very attached to Stievfater's characters, and I truly like that it all comes down to them and their lives. It feels that much more real to me - despite the big shocking moments (Linger, anyone?), life continues. So much of Forever is simply that - life continuing and our beloved characters finding their place. I'll always have a soft spot for Sam and Grace. Their relationship is so tender and romantic, and I do love how they read each other and effect each other. They are the epitome of soul mates. I also love Isabel, how fierce and vulnerable she can be all at once. Throughout Forever though, it was all Cole for me. I loved seeing him step away from the destructive rocker and just come into himself. He really kind of drove the story for me, pushing not only himself but the others too. I also enjoyed his moments with Sam, and I certainly cannot blame Isabel for being so twisted up about him, I tell you what. It wasn't just the main characters that stand out either. Stiefvater has created some well-defined secondary characters too. I give her major points for Tom Culpeper, if only because I wanted to hate him or be angry with him but just couldn't. His motivation only broke my heart. Shelby on the other hand, gives me chills even now. I also have to mention Officer Koenig, who became a major player in this book - he just makes me want to cheer! He's the kind of guy who makes you believe in hope.

Stiefvater has left the ending of Forever very open, and I know from some reviews that it hasn't always been appreciated. However for me, it worked. I finished this book with a smile on my face. It gave me a sense of "to be continued", only we won't be reading it. I wasn't left wanting more, but just knowing that there is - and I kind of love that. Life is never truly neat and tidy after all!

If you loved Shiver and Linger, you don't want to miss Forever. And if you haven't read the series at all...what are you waiting for? It's time to fall in love.

Rating:

Publisher: Scholastic
Published date: 12 July 2011
Pages: 390

Challenges: Vacation Reads - Mercy Falls. I've fallen in love with Boundary Woods and would very much like to enjoy a hike through them...as long as Shelby isn't on the prowl. If I happen to spy an ex-rocker and a yellow eyed boy, well...what's a vacation without some eye candy?!

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